Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cat and Mouse

This morning as I started the climb, another cyclist turned from a side street and started the climb up as well. She had seen me coming up Ina, and with that, she began to hammer up the road—and of course, I went after her. Hence a pursuit was underway.

Very slowly, I gained on her. The wind was howling and she got as far down in drops as she could. I got lucky because on the first stage of the big climb up Ina, there’s a light and she was trying hard to get through it and get ahead of me—cause she knew I wouldn’t make the green. I could see her pushing hard up to the light, but it turned red and she had to stop. I rolled up next to her—I realized it was a her now at the light—I didn’t before—and she was quite winded.

We exchanged greetings and chatted. She was decked out in her race gear, said she hadn’t ridden in about a month. As we climbed and the headwind bore down even harder on us, I could tell she was working hard, and not liking a big fella climbing just as good if not stronger. She looked fit and was slender and athletic.

I pulled her up all the way to the top of our climb, which is Ina and Campbell—and then suddenly she shot out around me to beat me to the top, knowing that the fast rollers were just ahead and she’d leave me in the dust. That’s what she thought anyway.

Going down these rollers at 25 to 30 mph, she was flying—but guess who? Right on your fucking wheel, little mouse? Yeah that’s right—Big Cat. Big Cat will let you pull him all the way to the top of the next climb (Ew I could tell that was humiliating).

So we’re both at the stop light of Sunrise and Swan; the top of my big morning climb. I could go right and down Swan to the office. “I think I’m up for one more climb.” I said, “Up to Craycroft.” This adds a few miles, but what it really does is add one more tough as Hell hill, and I wanted to show this cyclist that I was the real deal. So we charged up and I felt strong and we just stayed together. I let her push and hammer and climb her heart out because she wanted to drop me—finally once and for all. But I stayed right with her and mostly let her pull me up hill. It was tough and I was working, but she was having to work harder.

And then she gave up—or just relaxed—or something. “So you commute a lot?” She asked. “I try to ride in two or three days a week.” I said. She smiled at me and nodded. She said she was going to take Craycroft as well, then head East on River Rd. Craycroft up here in foot hills is all new pavement and smooth and very fast. So she shot down like a missile and I was right along side. The bike lane narrowed and then there was some smashed lumber in the road. I eased up and let her in front and I followed.

As we neared a light that was about to change red I slowed but, I could sense that she would blow through and she did. She stood up on the pedals and sprinted through the red light. Finally her chance to drop me I guess. I went after her. Yeah, all the cars saw us run the red light, and I’m sure they’ll be jumping on the band wagon of “Those cyclists think they own the road and they never stop and they wear those faggot shorts and they just this and they do that and they think they're all Arm Lancestrong, blah blah, fuckin blah blah…”

She glanced around to see how far back I would be after puttin' the moves on—Big Cat on your tail little mouse—yet again!

She saw her chance to make the left turn lane and went over. We both had to stop at the light on River Rd which was now red. We looked over at each other and she waved. She gave me a look that said, “Hey that was kind of fun, Dude.” And the light turned green and we were on our way, me to the office and her to meet her friend. They riding into work together to the UofA. She told me her friend wanted to ride but was afraid to go by herself because of traffic…

I wondered what she would say to her friend as they rode to the University.

“Like there was this guy I rode with on the way here and we like hammered all the way up Ina and to Skyline and Sunrise—it was a blast!”

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